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tv   America Tonight  Al Jazeera America  March 3, 2014 9:00pm-10:01pm EST

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are a u.s. supported attempt to overthrow the government. "america tonight" is up next. russia. >> on a special maircht: "ameria tonight,": putin's play and america's power. >> he will be able to show russia's force. >> vladimir putin is an old kgb colonel that wants to establish the old russian empire. >> president obama's critical diplomacy as the divide deanens.
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dean -- deepens. and ukraine now faces a nation divided. and good evening, thanks for being with us. i'm joie chen. welcome to special edition of "americofment "america tonight"g a major test between the world's western powers and russia. and is rapidly becoming the most urgent international challenge faced by president obama. first, a snapshot of the latest developments. an estimated 6,000 russian troops are now in crimea. though the ukrainian ambassador to the u.s. chaims that number is -- claims that number is much higher, perhaps 16,000. jeact john kerry is i -- secrety
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of state john kerry is in kiev. when it was reported that russia had issued an ultimatum, although russia denied making a threats. today president obama said russia's violation of international law will be in his words a costly proposition. the tensions over crimea drew gractly over the weekend as a steady stream of forces, pressure is growing across ukraine with al jazeera's journalists covering key developments. >> ukrainians are preparing themselves for war. in kiev where there has already been so much bloodshed, people expressed their allegiance to ukraine and their defiance of russia. it's fighting rhetoric and for now, it still is only talk. people have been responding enthusiastically to the call to
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mobilize. here there are young men, there are older men. people with military experience. people without any military experience at all. but yo who still want to take p. we have visited a total of three stations in and around kiev and already in the first few hours several hundred people had enlisted. >> i know russia is powerful, they have nuclear weapon but on the other side we have our friends in europe and the united states who already claim the support. so we will fight until the end. >> this appears to be perhaps the one place ukraine's forces in crimea are putting up any resistance. behind these walls in paravalnia is a special forces base. the ukrainian flag is still up and they have apparently refused to give in to those around them. pressing on their advantage mill militarily. to surrender or to switch sides.
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and on the political front a hard deadline now of a referendum in just four weeks for the separation of crimea. by that time russia and crimea may have decided their own fate. this has been the loudest criticism of russia's military takeover of crimea since it began last friday. most of these women are crimean tartars a well organized and educated minority horrified by the intervention. >> i'm afraid and i see the fear in their eyes, we can't feel that we are safe. >> it is a very clear sign that not everybody in crimea thinks that this has been some kind of a liberation. in fact, this sign sums it up perfectly. it says putin, my children are afraid of your defenses.
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>> what started here as a protest movement has escalated beyond what most of the demonstrators could have imagined and it's not over yet. >> and now following up with the latest developments in crimea. al jazeera's jennifer glasse joins us from simferopol. jen. >> taking ore ukrainian bases really walking on i spent most of the last two days, one base about a 20 minute drive from here on the road to yalta. the two commanders have spoken a couple of times but the ukrainian commander inside the base says he won't give up. we have seen russian forces just take over some other bases digging in at the base where i was they have a camp laid out, they have -- they've got tents
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already. they're in for the long haul here. we've seen troops working all over town and worries tonight that there may be a deadline from the forces for the ukrainians to surrender. the rumors have been flying around all day. tensions are high. certainly we haven't seen a shot fired but certainly it is a tense situation here with russian forces and ukrainian forces facing off just a few feet from each other on these bases. >> al jazeera's jennifer glasse, thanks so much. and the question of what to do next is being pondered here in washington. white house correspondent mike viqueria. >> they called a principals meeting, all the top officials in the west wing just over my right shoulder here. this is the president's he said all the assurances he gave
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lacked conviction. when the president sat down with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu today, it was the dleun had the world -- the ukraine that had the world's attention. >> to put its soldiers on the ground and violate basic principles that are recognized around the world. >> reporter: it has suddenly become an urgent and high stakes test for mr. obama. the administration has been playing catchup in ukraine since the crisis began. when unidentified soldiers aligned with russia were taking up space in crimea, the united states warned not to invade. >> there will be costs for any military intervention in ukraine.
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>> that warning was ignored. the administration was caught flatfooted. critics in here and elsewhere, undermining u.s. power abroad. >> every time the president goes on national television and threatens putin or anyone like putin, everyone's eyes roll, including mine. we have a weak and incisive president that invites that impression. >> it was secretary of state john kerry that turned up the heat with that rhetoric. >> you don't in 20th century, behave in 19th century behavior. >> punishing russia with economic sanctions. >> when it comes to preserving the principle that no country has the right to send in troops to another country, unprovoked. we should be able to come up
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with a unified position. that stands outside of partisan politics. >> secretary of state kerry arrives in kiev tomorrow morning to meet with the transitional government in ukraine. the president insists this isn't the cold war all over again. with military options off the table, and with putin showing no signs of backing down, obama will reverse economic aggression with an old adversary. >> there is the possibility we understand that either on his way there or on his way back he could meet with his russian counterpart sergey lavrov. joie. >> thank you, mike viqueria from the white house, senator john mccain earlier i spoke with him and i asked him if the u.s. had miscalculated vladimir putin's ambitions.
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>> you've got to start with a fundamental realization that vladimir putin is an old kgb colonel that wants to reestablish the old russian empire. and when he said the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century, was a collapse of the soviet union, he meant it. >> so what do you anticipate from mr. putin at this point? >> i'm very worried about eastern ukraine. i don't know how far he'll go. i predicted crimea by the way because of the importance of sevastopol. i don't think he'll go further. towns and mayors and people sort of declaring their allegiance to russia. i hope it's not an outright separation. but it's of the utmost seriousness. by the way, russia signed an agreement, a treaty, a solemn
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treaty, when ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons, and he has obviously dismantled -- disregarded that. >> given at this point crimea sees 6,000 or some-odd russian forces in that small spit of land and all that's going on right now is it possible that crimea is just lost at this point? that it will be russian? >> i'm afraid that may be the facts ton ground. unless there are pressures brought to bear on putin which i frankly don't know what they are now. let me mention one other thing. putin told president obama the reason why he decided -- why they did this was to protect russian populations. well, there's russian populations in the baltic states, there's russian populations in poland. there are russian populations in roromania and other countries.
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this could set a totally dangerous precedent, an immoral and illegal one. >> could there be any legitimacy to mr. putin's actions? obviously mr. yanukovych sent some communique and said we need your help, can you help us? >> i think mr. yanukovych proved his illegitimacy, with these stavas and palaces which have overwhelmed mr. yanukovych's presidency. putin may i pray not but may use that as a pretext for further incursion in eastern ukraine. but that may ratchet up attention even more critically and then we will have to examine
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other options. >> senator john mccain we appreciate you being with us and giving us your insights. >> thank you. >> when we continue this special report, crisis in ukraine, a look at the russian president's bold moves and what may prove careless calculations. understanding mr. putin in our next segment.
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>> and welcome back to our special coverage of the crisis in ukraine. in crimea, russian forces have seized two other facilities and surrounded military bases. occupation of ukrainian territory. big question that remains is: what is vladimir putin's next move and what is at stake for russia? "america tonight"'s special correspondent sheila macvicar is looking at that. sheila. >> a way to defuse this crisis and to move away from military threat, offers he's not yet accepted. the questions leaders, analysts and others of asking, what is putin's game and what does he want? just over a week ago, russian president vladimir putin waved good-bye to the world from the viewing stands of sochi, a $50
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billion investment in goodwill and global prestige. with russian troops occupying crimea and barricading, a goodwill he squandered. william pomeranz, a long time observer of vladimir putin. >> i think he has miscalculated. he may from his perspective be able to regain crimea. he may from saber rattling he may intimidate ukraine. but he has shown a side at a most people have not seen and not been exposed on a world stage for a long time and i think he will lose significantly in terms of how people perceive russia. >> a eurasian cousins union. a union of economies legal systems and militaries to rival the u.s. and europe.
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a 20th century recreation of the old soviet union, one that does not work without ukraine. good russia is not a world power without ukraine. russia cannot fulfill its international role without ukraine and cannot fulfill its role if ukraine is oriented to the west. putin himself represents and the system that he created and therefore he felt compelled to act. >> why would putin go down the road launching military action? why isn't he employing other means? >> i think this is the question. he does have other avenues to pursue if he wanted to pressure ukraine. he could impose customs barriers. he could charge high price for gas. >> what is the best you think that putin can hope for coming out of this? >> people are trying ofind out away putin's end game is.
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if it is simply to occupy crimea and to have that be the stopping point, then i think it will obviously have tremendous ramifications for russia. but it would begin to defuse the crisis. if on the other hand, putin has as his objective to pick off some of the eastern provinces of ukraine, then he will have to use military force. which will escalate things beyond the current crisis. >> some analysts point to the 2008 russian invase of georgia which led to two break-away republics now under russian control as a potential putin game plan. and in kiev today the president of georgia warned ukraine's government that it should prepare for the worst and do it quickly. as more russian forces continue to deploy in crimea taking care of ferry terminals and as eastern ukraine threaten more violence, some say this could
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quickly escalate. >> this could end up as a full fledge war in eastern europe. this hasn't been more threatening since the balkans in the 1990s. this threatens peace in our time this in the european continent. >> shown he has made his own calculations and to this crisis he has so far only brought the hard power levers of military threat. this pay be a very big roll of the dice. >> if he's betting anything, he's betting that the west will not respond and that he will be able to achieve this and that ukraine will go along with this. and will not ris. resist. those are huge bets, high-risk strategy and events will determine whether he was right or wrong. >> who is putin listening to? analysts suggest a very close circle of advisors which may not
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even include his economic team. the best person may be german chancellor angela merkel. he understands german, in her telephone call with her over the weekend, osc monitors to check on and watch the human rights situation. however merkel last night speaking to president obama is reported to have wondered aloud about putin's grip on reality, apparently saying, joie, he was on a different planet. >> wide a comment. let's talk about not only the russian leadership but the ukrainian leadership as well. in all this who has stepped in to lead as well? >> we have new group since the departure of viktor yanukovych a week ago. the person who has emerged is
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arseniy yatsenyuk, in the ukrainian area of crimea where the prime minister was deposed and new pro-russian prime minister has been replaced. >> sheila we'll ask you to stand by and we'll turn to you again. international emergency for the united nations, looking for peaceful resolution there, diplomats met for the third time since friday, denouncing russia's threats. joining us is al jazeera's james bays. can you talk about today's developments? >> yes, joie. it was another meeting of the united nations security council. this time called by russia. we were somewhat surprised by that. then we found out when the peteing started why. because the russian ambassador vitaly cherkin had something up his sleeve, a letter from
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deposed president yanukovych. the russians were invited in, an invitation from the former president who the russians say is still the letting president to enter his -- the legitimate presidential to enter his country. the russian powers are all saying this is an act breaching international law. the invited into ukraine, into crimea bir the man we still believe is the legitimate president. >> james bays watching developments there thanks very much. >> russ are russia was in this spot in 2008. in the republic of georgia. to talk about the gravity of the latest developments kurt voelker, the u.s. ambassador to georgia during the invasion.
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i've heard the comparison but what's the distinction between what happened in georgia and what's going on now in crimea? >> i think there's a couple of distinctions. there's an internal conflict inside ukraine, or just pro-yanukovych in a corrupt cronyistic system. the crack down on yanukovych and the killing of a lot of people and as those protests escalated, he fled the country. nothing like that happened in georgia. what you had was a soldly pro-western government, put in place significant democratic reforms, economic reforms and was really doing quite well. and russia had, through u.n. mandate because of past conflicts, the right to put peace keepers into these two regions in georgia. what russia then did was take advantage of that ability under the u.n. to significantly
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reinforce its presence and effectively break away those territories from georgia. there was a deplacing, that was stopped by a lot of deliberate resolve from the united states from the european union. >> in terms of crimea and the ukraine and what the international community can do here to apply pressure, to really make a difference, there is to be this nato meeting tomorrow. what can nato do at this point? >> i think there's an awful lot that can and should be done. not just saying nato is a neighbor and they can and will use force. to use the comment that putin is on another planet and out of touch with reality, he is very in touch with reality. he detects weakness and sees no push back for doing so.
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there are direct costs to putin to russia for the actions that he's taken. i would say several things to be done right away. get as many observers into kiev as possible. from every nato country, every u.n. country, anyone who can bear witness what is happening. we are willing to back up kiev, and put pressure on russia's own assets through firms that would have a direct impact on putin or individuals on travel. raise the stakes so that it creates negotiation and hopefully we'll get feunt stop where he is -- putin to stop where he is. >> we have heard from senator mccain that hes this crimea is lost that crimea is now firmly under the control of russia and moscow. do you think that is indeed the case and do you think that's enough to satisfy vladimir putin's ambitions at this point? good i would say that the
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senator is exactly right, that that's the facts on the ground today, russia is occupying courtroom. that's the fact. in the case of georgia they have been occupying these territories since 2008. it is not easy to undo. what we don't know is whether putin is going to stop with crimea and continue to eastern ukraine, and that's where the continued resolve and push-back from the united states and nato and u.n. is so critical now. >> we appreciate you being with us ambassador volker. and sheila macvicar, as well. when we come back, the standoff, face to face and toe to toe and the powder keg that crimea has become.
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>> earlier today, president putin in effected military -- inspected military drills in crimea on the heels of 6,000 troops in place at strategic locations in on the peninsula, jennifer glasse reports from 13 miles outside the capitol jen. >> we've seen russian forces take key positions around the country. the public are with them. but even if they haven't taken a particular base they're still in chrome of the territory. >> the front lines are being drawn in crimea. nowhere is that more clear than outside the ukrainian military base at paravalny. there is a standoff.
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russian forces have the place surrounded. ukrainians are guarding ammunition and armored vehicles. the population appears to be taking sides. until sunday morning no one really cared about this place. this ukrainian military base is just about a half an hour outside the crimean capitol spimplsimferopol. the commander said no, he says if the russians do come back he'll tell his troops to fight to defend the base. the russians arrived just before noon on sun, truckloads of them, taking up positions around the base and again demanding that the commander surrender. for commander sergei, he recognizes the russians are here and no reenforcements are on their way. will there be war, i ask him? we'll see, he says, we'll try not to let them in.
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coming from kiev he tells me i'm alone. we can, we'll see, we'll see says. he holds talks with his russian counterpart at their encampment just outside the base. the two agree that neither wants to fight and neither plans to back down. a stalemate that echoes the international standoff over ukrainian territory. today there was a new army outside base, made up of civilians like 28-year-old vladimir who support russia. >> translator: support crimea. don't let kiev occupy this base and then go fighting against us, against the people of crimea. >> reporter: as he stands beside the camp gate and the road to the outside world he blames the world for the trouble. >> kiev has called up troops to leave this base and turn their tanks towards crimea. they're provoking war, not russia. not the citizens of crimea.
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kiev is causing the trouble. we have order and peace here in crimea and kiev is causing the trouble. don't intrude, please. we will figure it out for ourselves. >> reporter: and he's glad that the russians are here. >> translator: russia here is a guarantor of order so that europe doesn't interfere and kiev doesn't interfere. they are securing ordinary, we feel safe because of these russian troops. as far as i know the crimean public asked for russian help. they are not hurting anyone. >> reporter: he is particularly upset that the news of the new government in kiev is calling on men to fight. he says he won't even though he's supposed to. >> translator: i'm a military reservist and now they've announced condescription and would i have to fight against my fellow crimeans. they're trying to make me fight
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against my own people! >> reporter: the militia won't let us past to get past the camp gate so the priest comes to us. >> translator: they say they want our troops to vendor, this. this is absurd. >> reporter: what do you think will happen? >> translator: we hope there is peace and we don't want to think of the alternative. >> reporter: yesterday he and some of his congregation, tried to get them to see each other as people and get past their differences. >> translator: in today's situation it will be clear who is with ukraine and who is with russia. who is of their right minds and who are led by fanatics. all of this unrest might scare people who might come on vacation. crimea very much depends on
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tourism. this will make the economy worse. >> reporter: we were supposed to joint vladimir today. >> they won't even let you visit our church. they think we are starting trouble. that our interviews cause trouble. but you heard our priest yesterday and his words are about love and peace. did we ever call on people to take weapons? not a word. all we say is, pray, pray, pray. >> reporter: late in the afternoon, another pro-russian civilian force revise. like the russian troops they have been told not to say anything. we haven't seen any mass demonstrations but here at least there are those that are willing to stand with them. the civilian force tells stemko they will allow russian troops through their lines if he
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promises not to speak to press anymore. the situation here has set neighbor against neighbor, separation is deep and anger often boils over. mothers and sisters are the ukrainians on the base are worried, this could turn violent. this afternoon the base commander made an announcement. he will not surrender. he and his men will stay. and so paravalne remains a flash point in the biggest confrontation between russia and the since the cold war. and you know joie while a shot has not been fired yet, the russians try to pressure ukrainians to surrender. >> jennifer glasse, thank you so much. the presence of russian forces in crimea has been called many things already and has swept global leaders into a political
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storm over russia's growing power in the region. but in kiev's independence square, pro-ukraine forces are vowing to keep the faith. reporting from the maidan, nick schifrin reports. >> in a new ukraine, a 26-year-old in borrowed fatigues. is the rising star. three months ago, vladimir was producing wedding videos. now he helps write the scripts. >> we are fighting here i could say from our independence for freedom he says. it's just beautiful. in the new ukraine 34-year-old tatiana is a national crime fighter. three months ago she was an investigative journalist hunted by the president's thugs, now
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she's the hunter. i knew yanukovych would disappear. i knew he would win, she says. but we're not talking victory yet because russians are now inside our territory. in the new ukraine, tatiana's and vladimir's stage is not permanent. it is known simply as the square, or in ukrainian, the maidan. the maidan, where men with flimsy shields walked into a massacre. maidan where after all of those sacrifices, tatiana was elected the new anticorruption chief by the voice vote of 200,000 peop people. and the maid where vladimir became the demonstrators mouth peace. ten days ago, when the opposition made a deal with president yanukovych he
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personally helped kill it where the opposition pitched their deal and got booed. he threatened to storm the presidency and was cheered. yanukovych fled that very same night. people have credited that speech for convincing yanukovych to flee. do you agree? >> it wasn't my speech. it was the entire ukrainian people talking, he says. god just chose me as an instrument of fulfilling this plan. for years, tatiana targeted a regime she considered corrupt and brutal. she spray painted "executioner" on the old president's door. and the palatial estate, his massive car collection, his golf course, his fancy spa, for those efforts his goons ran her down. on christmas eve, for 20
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terrifying minutes, that black car kept boxing her in. she sped away. and they played cat and mouse. finally, they caught her. [ horn honking ] >> and beat her within an inch of her life. >> how close were you to dying when you were attacked? >> very close. i was beaten, dragged into the bushes, and left unconscious, she said, and what saved me was when i woke up i started crawling towards the road. had i called crawled the other way towards the field, i would have froze to death. the maidan made her a hero. she fought back furiously. this police surveillance video
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leaked on the youtube, she smashes through a police sun roof. and for that crusade she's been rewarded. she's now responsible for preventing her own government from committing the same abuses of power that brought yanukovych down. >> there needs to be a huge effort to break this structure, she says. it will be very difficult to accomplish right now. because there's a vacuum of power. tatiana and vladimir used to be the opposition. now they're becoming part of the establishment. he's taking to it quite quickly. outside he stops to talk to everyone. he even kisses babies. and inside his headquarters, his converted music conservatory, he has office hours and he has put himself on a civil administration crash course. every night i read about how the country works, he says. cabinet ministers, each
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particular function, i had a general knowledge but now i need to deepen it. never before in ukraine's history have youth and experience had this much opportunity and responsibility. tatiana looks south at those russian troops invading crimea and wonders whether the opportunity might be taken away. we analyze that we are weaker. we analyze that we are less experienced, she says, the last who fought in a war are afghan war veterans and now they have grand kids. there is a saying that revolutions eat their children. they'll have coto confront challenges they never imagined they would face. all the nation's leaders all thanks a stage in the maidan. nick schifrin, al jazeera, kiev.
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>> we'll continue "america tonight"'s special report, crisis in the ukraine, on the money trail, leaves ukraine at risk of financial collapse.
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consider this: the news of the day plus so much more. >> we begin with the government shutdown. >> answers to the questions no one else will ask. >> it seems like they can't agree to anything in washington no matter what. >> antonio mora, award winning and hard hitting. >> we've heard you talk about the history of suicide in your family. >> there's no status quo, just the bottom line. >> but, what about buying shares in a professional athlete? real perspective, consider this on al jazeera america >> almost inevitably that shuttered through ukraine, the dow plunged more than 150 points, the biggest decline in more than a month.
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and in russia the stock market fell nearly 11%, with the rubel falling. ali velshi joins us live from new york. ali so we saw the markets really shudder. do u.s. companies particularly the really big once that have international investment -- ones that have international investment do they have problems in the short term? >> when the currency falls, the government increases their interest rates, russia went from 5% to 7%. it has the same issue inas in america, they will spend less so sure, american companies with exposure in russia will feel short term effect but that's really not the main concern. american investment in russia is not all that big because russia is a tough and somewhat corrupt place to do business and at the
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same time american trade with russia is substantially smaller than you might think. if this thing happened in canada or germany or china this would be important to americans. economically it's less important. the big thing is that russia itself becomes a little unhinged economically, a threat of a recession, because it's so closely tied to the countries around it, what you don't want is a regional economic slow down. >> that's one of the concerns, there's a lot of interest and discussion now about economic sanctions and how they might play a part in bringing an end to the crisis. but there's some resistance in europe. why would that be? why would there be resistance on the economic front? >> you got to think of russia as a net exporter of resources, particularly of energy and very particularly of natural gas. here in the united states we use a lot of natural gas but it's
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domestically produced. europe saw about a 10% spike in natural gas prices. about 40% of the natural gas schooled in europe comes from russia and goes through appliance that go through the ukraine. europe has been trying to diversify the source of gas supply for quite some time but hasn't been able to do it. russia controls the amount of natural gas that goes into europe. germany has a lot of factories. natural gas is not just for heating, it generates electricity which these factories use. if there was a sustained increase in the price of gas or if russia were to shut down the natural gas flow you would see the real problem in europe which is why europe may not be as keen to impose sanctions on russia as america is. >> worries of retaliation there. ali velshi host of "real money," thanks for being with us.
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>> okay joie. >> anxiety hit ordinary ukrainians and hard. the local currency is losing value, no bread, no eggs, only expensive imported italian spaghetti left. "america tonight" correspondent sheila macvicar joins us now. >> a team from the international monetary fund is scheduled to arrive in ukraine to investigate the finances, it is believed that it will help stabilize the finances but corruption has pushed the country to the brink. >> reeling from crisis to crisis and it's clear there is another huge problem: the economy and money. >> translator: i want to report to you that the state
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treasury in ukraine was robbed and is empty. >> reporter: more than $50 billion in gold reserves and foreign credits have disappeared, he said. where did the money go? ukrainians are pointing to deposed president viktor yanukovych and away they called his kel cleptocratic government. a faux boat used as a private restaurant, a personal zoo with pigs and peacocks. endless topiary. and a garage full of classic cars. so much gaudy luxury in a country where $500 a month is a good wage. >> translator: we want to see everything here. to see where our money went, what our people were working for. >> reporter: for years people
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have suspected corruption on a massive scale. these documents recovered from a presidential lake by divers seem to confirm it. they even detail the cost of the house and its furnishings. $110,000 for curtains for one room. $2.5 million on wood paneling and another $100,000 on this statute. and in the days since the former president fled, ukrainians have found yet another vast estate. still under construction. with spectacular views of the black sea. meant as a summer house. but not all the money is in ukraine. investigators have frozen bank accounts belonging to yanukovych, his son and former ministers in austria, lichtenstein and switzerland. switzerland. money laundering by yanukovych and his son. in a company registered to them.
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the son a dentist is now believed to be one of the wealthiest men in europe. he owns airports, coal enrichment plants and reports, his companies won 50% of all contracts won in the last two years. time ukraine does not have. creup's finance ministry says it needs $35 billion over the next two years just to avoid default. the international monetary fund says it will ready to help but ukraine will have to meet strict conditions. most important: stop rampant corruption creating a system of financial transparency and accountability and end expensive government energy subsidies. >> we will complete all the conditions. i repeat, all the conditions, that are necessary for this loan. >> managing director of the imf
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christine la guard says there's no need for panic. adding the imf and others including the united states who are ready to help ukraine need time to assess the state of the finances, joy. >> and finally, help from little ukraine. >> we are really helping people to get what they want. >> from tips to prayers, we tryst new york visit the new york community working on the fight for home.
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on al jazeera america >> finally in our special programming now, new york's east village is well-known for its vibrant fight life but also home for tens of thousands of
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ukrainians who have migrated there over the past century. christof putzel reports, they worry about their home land but also the family and friends that are still there. >> it is a chilly friday night in manhattan's east village. thesthese ukrainians are mixingg drinks with politics. working to support ukrainian nationalism from abroad. >> we are together because we want to help because we care. >> that sense of community isn't hard to find in the east village. tens of thousands of ukrainians live here earning it the nickname, little ukraine. >> you are always attracted to that culture and you seek it out.
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i've been here for ten years but there have been people here for 60 years and they still stay here as a community and they still seek out all the ukrainians in the city. >> that sense of nationalism led maria home in december to join tens of thousands of protesters in the capitol's independence square. >> standing there with half a million people singing your national anthem and being proud of who they are and fighting for the truth. there's nothing, there's nothing else that can ever give me that feeling. >> irina started bartending at the sly fox shortly after moving to new york seven years ago. >> i didn't feel that much about ukraine and then when i moved here, maybe it's the distance, and i miss my family and my home land, much more. this is going to the fund raiser. >> in late february she posted on facebook that she would
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donate all of her tips to ukraine. the response was massive. so far she's raised more than $2500 to pay for lifesaving supplies. >> we have a team of volunteers that every day reports to us and writes a list of things they absolutely need to have. >> in the beginning they bought jackets, boots and medical supplies. but when things turned violent and 82 protesters were shot and killed the requests coming from the ground began to change. >> people were asking us for bullet proof vests. snipers were shooting people left and right so they were asking for vests. >> she end up buying 50 bullet proof vets and helmets which were quickly distributed to protesters. >> people who were wearing those bullet proof vests survived. when you got a message that because of what you were doing you saved two lives.
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literally you saved two lives. they showed us pictures of those vests with the marks from the bullets. that's why we are doing this. >> can i help you? >> next door at vaselka, a 24 hour ukrainian diner, we met vitaly. he witnessed the violence firsthand. >> it was really difficult to see all those people who were shot dead. most of those people, i prayed for them. >> vitaly worked as a waiter since coming two years ago. he felt a renewed kinship, visiting his family last february. >> i went to maidan, i decided to go to maidan. good the battle for ukraine's few of is still far from over and despite widespread support from the new government many
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here in little ukraine admit that corruption runs deep. >> if you want to be wealthy you start your own business. in ukraine you go into politics. >> but it hasn't dampened their sense of pride. they are hopeful that a free democratic ukraine will emerge, not far away. christof putzel, al jazeera, new york. >> that's it for tonight, we'll have more of "america tonight," tomorrow. vitaly churkin
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>> the major developments in the ukraine have worldwide implications. russia's black sea fleet ordering them to surrender by monday. the commander threatened a real assault of ukraine's military if the deadline passed. a fleet spokesman claimed there were no immediate plans for a russian attack. meanwhile ukraine's u.n. ambassador said monday that russia put 16,000 troops in crimea for the past week. sergei lavrov, the forin minister, in geneva said russia was protecting its interest and russian's citizens that lived in
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ukraine: >> russia's u.n. ambassador insisted troops in crimea were invited, entering at the request of deposed ukrainian president viktor yanukovych to establish: >> but america's u.n. ambassador samantha power didn't buy it. >> military action cannot be justified on the basis of threats that haven't been made and aren't being carried out. there is no evidence that ethnic russians are in danger. >> meanwhile at the white house president obama warned russia that the u.s. and russian allies were making preparations of their own. >> we are examining a whole series of steps - economic, diplomatic - that will isolate russia, and will have a negative impact on russia's economy, and its sta